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The Problem of Partial Vision

15. November 2017

Columns, Learn & Live,

  —Dennis J. Prutow

Mark 8:22–26 presents a two-stage miracle occurring almost in the center of this 16-chapter book.

They came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”

Why does this story appear where it does in Mark’s gospel? Context helps us. In Mark 8:1–9, Jesus and the disciples are very likely on the east side of the Sea of Galilee in an area called Decapolis. Jesus multiplies the loaves and fish and feeds four thousand. Then, Jesus and the disciples cross to the west side of Galilee to Dalmanutha, where the Pharisees confront Him and seek a sign (Mark 8:10–12). Again Jesus and the disciples cross Galilee and head to Bethsaida, on the north shore of the lake where the Jordan enters Galilee. The disciples forgot to bring bread. Jesus calls them to remember the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand. He reminds them how much bread remained after each miracle. Jesus asks, “Do you not see?” The disciples are blind to the fact that the manufacturer of ...

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